Lonnie, Me and the World’s Ugliest Couch
by Marian Allen
“Well, I know, but look at it,” he said.
“I am looking at it,” I said. “That’s above and beyond. I told you I’d help you move it, but you never said nothing about looking at it.”
“I hear ya, Tiny,” he said. “I think I owe you a couple extra slices of pizza for that.”
Lonnie’s wife, Leona, had gone and bought a couch and told them her husband would pick it up. Lonnie approved of saving eighty bucks on delivery and borrowed the truck from work.
Now, when you’re the biggest guy around, like I am, you just naturally expect that any moving that gets done, you’re going to be part of the crew. So here I was next to him on the loading dock, waiting for the guy to bring papers for Lonnie to sign, looking at Leona’s new couch.
“That woman is couch crazy,” Lonnie said. “Know how many couches this makes, including sofas, divans, davenports, and loveseats? Ten. Over time, you know, counting ones folks give us when we couldn’t afford to buy any.”
The man came back with the papers and Lonnie signed them.
“Wait a minute,” he said, holding the man back from his work. “Before you go in: Is this the ugliest couch you ever seen or not?”
It was stuffed so thick on the arms they looked like upholstered balloons, and the rest was so thin it was practically a bench with a towel over it. The pattern looked to me like pink and green chickens, but the man said it was peonies. But, he admitted, kinda ugly peonies.
We lashed the couch into the truck bed and got in the truck.
“Whaddya think?” Lonnie was driving, and it wasn’t like him to ask for directions, but this was more by way of advice. “Should we go on the freeway where more people will see it, or on the surface roads, where they’ll have to see it longer?”
“Freeway, so we can get this thing indoors quicker.”
Unfortunately, Leona and my wife, Mary Lee, had each given us “honeydo” lists, so we had some stops to make.
At the gas station, Lonnie got out to pump and I heard him hollering at somebody. I scrooched around to see if it was somebody I knew, too, but it was a guy in a van with out-of-state plates on it.
Lonnie hollered, “I want you to come over here and look at something. I ask you, is this the ugliest couch you ever saw, or what?”
The guy whistled and said, “If that was my couch, I’d shoot it in the head and bury it after dark.”
“I thank ya, sir, that’s all I wanted to know.”
When he got back in, I told him I was disappointed in him, subjecting an unsuspecting traveler to that couch, and it wasn’t showing our state in a very good light, but Lonnie didn’t care.
At the hardware store, Lon drug the whole staff out and made them vote. They voted yes, it was the ugliest couch in the world.
One of the clerks said, “Dang! It looks like somebody ate it and it didn’t agree with ’em.”
When we got home, we carried the monstrosity in and asked Leona where she wanted it.
She gave a ladylike little shriek and grabbed the phone.
Seems this was not the couch she was looking for.
After about half an hour on the phone with the furniture store manager, crying and shouting and calling on God to witness and threatening brimstone and lawyers, Leona hung up and said we had to take the thing back and get the one she had really ordered.
I don’t know about Lonnie, but I was flat-out bushed by the time we swapped couch number ten for couch number eleven, which wasn’t much to write home about but looked like perfection itself after the other one.
Lonnie ordered two pizzas and I silently dared Leona to forbid either one of us to crack a couple beers out in the back yard.
We could hear the wives in the kitchen, laughing themselves breathless like they do, but all we felt like doing was eating and drinking and enjoying the coming cool of the evening.
It was great to get home. Mary Lee kept breaking into giggles, so I finally asked her, “What’s so funny?”
“You know,” she said. “That horrible couch Leona said Lonnie brought home. I guess there’s no accounting for taste.”
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Write about an ugly piece of furniture.